Release Date: November 4th, 2016
Label: Mint Records
After scoring big with one of Canada’s most prominent psych-rock albums in recent years (2014’s ‘Saturnalia Regalia!’) Monomyth returns with a somewhat different sound. Aside from the very Beatlesque “Fuck With Me” (harking back to “Tomorrow Never Knows”) the album is virtually psych-free, except for the odd warped guitar lick. In its place is more of a turn towards ‘90s alt pop.
“Re: Lease Life (Place 2 Go)” may recall the Kinks and “Aloha” sounds like UK bands of the early ‘90s, but the main vibe on ‘Happy Pop Family’ is Seattle alternative. “Cool Blue Hello” and “Falling in Love” are good examples of this — grunge influence and high-energy guitar. The energy is very positive, but it isn’t always enough to prevent a song from approaching the mundane. “Palpitations’, for example, almost floats off on its own jangly lightness, whereas New Year’s Resolve veers towards U2-style arena rock.
The song where everything comes together is “High On Sunshine”, where Monomyth’s psych tendencies are acted on and fold right into the grunge/alt package. More music like this would have been a welcome progression. As it is, the songs are enjoyable and solid, but they just don’t quite make the statement that Monomyth is capable of.